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On-Call Pay Indiana

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  • On-Call Pay Indiana

    Hello,

    This is my first post, so please be gentle...

    My boyfriend works at a hospital in Indiana in the Health Information Management department. He is paid hourly. The pay is low, the management "old-school" and it's not such a desirable place in my opinion. My question is regarding his on-call "pay."

    He is required to work a weekend every 6-8 weeks, both Saturday and Sunday from 7:00am-4:30pm. They give him hours off during other parts of the week so they don't have to pay him overtime. However, when he gets home at 5:00, he is required to be on call for two hours until 7:00. For these two hours, he is paid $1.50 per hour.

    At first this didn't seem too bad because he wasn't really getting any calls. But then there was a weekend where he was on the phone practically the entire time both nights. And since then, he's gotten more calls. During this time, it's not just that he has to have his phone (by the way, he is using his personal cell phone paid for by his parents, not the hospital), he has to also have a very old, heavy, slow laptop out to look up medical records.

    This is what I found on the Indiana DOL site's FAQ:

    Q: Do I have to be paid for "on-call" time?
    A: Generally, you are only required to be paid for time while you are under the direction and control of your employer. An employee who is required to remain "on-call" at home, or who is allowed to leave a message where he/she can be reached, is not considered to be working while "on-call." However, an employee who is required to remain "on-call" on the employer's premises is considered to be working while "on-call."


    If location is the only consideration, what's to stop employers from sending everyone home with a laptop and not paying them at all?

    Also, how is it legal for them to require him to use his personal cell phone for these calls without reimbursing him?

    I'm just a little confused about the legal philosophy behind all of this. It seems to be he should get paid more when he is actually taking calls, and that he should not have to use his personal cell phone.

    Thoughts?

  • #2
    He does not HAVE to be paid for the time he is not working at all. In no state does simply carrying a cell phone or pager constitute work time in and of itself.

    Whether or not his time is "unduly restricted" by having to have the laptop with him is something only the state DOL can establish for certain. He does, of course, have to be paid for the time he is actually working at no less than minimum wage.

    It is legal for them to require him to use his personal cell phone with no compensation because no law says it is not legal. Only two states have any laws at all regarding the reimbursement of business expenses, and in only one of those two would the law require him to be reimbursed for the cell phone expenses.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

    Comment


    • #3
      I suppose another question I'm really asking is, is this really being "on-call"? My understanding is that being on call means you're not working, but can be required to come back into the office if an emergency arises. Once you got back to the office, you would be paid again (or perhaps not if you're a salaried employee). But in his situation, he is really potentially working after-hours, and they are calling it "on-call."

      The job he is doing is answering calls from other institutions (usually other hospitals, or the ER at his hospital) regarding patients' medical records. He answers the phone, they need so-and-so's records faxed, and he sends them, or arranges for them to be sent.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by cbg View Post
        He does not HAVE to be paid for the time he is not working at all. In no state does simply carrying a cell phone or pager constitute work time in and of itself.

        Whether or not his time is "unduly restricted" by having to have the laptop with him is something only the state DOL can establish for certain. He does, of course, have to be paid for the time he is actually working at no less than minimum wage.

        It is legal for them to require him to use his personal cell phone with no compensation because no law says it is not legal. Only two states have any laws at all regarding the reimbursement of business expenses, and in only one of those two would the law require him to be reimbursed for the cell phone expenses.
        Hi, thanks so much for your response. They are doing something illegal by not paying him at or above minimum wage when he is working during this on-call shift. I responded to my own post with more information to clarify - that when he receives a call, he is working from home, not going back to the office.

        Comment


        • #5
          I understand that he is working from home and not going to the office. What I am talking about is the time that he is NOT working, but is still on call.

          If he (not you) believes that he is not being paid properly, then he (not you) can file a wage claim with the state.
          The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

          Comment


          • #6
            Wage claim form Indiana:

            http://www.in.gov:80/dol/2671.htm
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